Thursday, September 19, 2013

After effects of updating my iPad to IOS 7 ?

       This is my first post soon after I updated my iPad to IOS 7.  I was shocked rather surprised after upgrading. I was asked to configure few settings after upgrade and I did. Being a major revision release, my expectation was much higher and to my dismay iOS 7 failed to make any impression. My first search term in safari after upgrading was "how to revert to iOS 6 after upgrade to iOS 7". Search yielded no proper results as expected. So what made me so reluctant to use iOS7 ?

1. White White White everywhere. Trust me iPad does not need retina display for the color scheme that iOS 7 offers. Looks like a white back lit monochrome phone. I do a lot of reading at bed (dark room) and it definitely hurts my eyes.

2. Touch Keypad looks as if it is seen through an x-Ray. Lacks the 3d look alike buttons of iOS6.

3. Almost all notifications lacks the 3d appearance, making the display boring in short time.

4. The buttery smooth animations are gone! Yes, that's the first and the most annoying glitch that I noticed after upgrading. The animation that comes if you close any app using multi gesture is sticky. Looks if it misses some frames while animating. I tried even restarting my ipad hoping it could be due to some cache problem, yet no luck.

5. Photos: The dumbest UI ever. Plain white background.


There could be a lot of good features in iOS 7 but the bad outweighs the good. If anyone knows how to rollback iPad to iOS6 please do let me know.

These reviews are based on my initial experience with iOS 7. In case I find any cool new feature worth a mention, I'll update this post.

Ram Kishore K

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Happy Independence Day, August 15, 2013 !

Independence Day wishes to all 

Ram Kishore K

(*Forged the post date to read 1 day earlier as I didn't have Internet access on I-day)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Trip to Ooty, Connor from Bangalore


     A trip to Ooty from Bangalore was a much sought after vacation of mine, which was often put in the back burner for a very long time. We finally made it during the first week of May 2013.

      April, May are considered as peak seasons and there would usually be heavy flow of tourists to Ooty mainly due to the pleasant climatic conditions. Summer vacation too takes credit.

Route to Ooty from Bangalore 
      There are two main routes to Ooty from Bangalore.
Bangalore --> Ramnagara --> Mandya --> SriRangapattna --> Mysore --> Nanjangud --> Gundlupet --> Bandipur--> Masinagudi -- Ooty ( Approx 265 Kms)

Alternate Route
Bangalore --> Ramnagara --> Mandya --> SriRangapattna --> Mysore --> Nanjangud --> Gundlupet --> Bandipur --> Mudumalai --> Gudalur --> Ooty ( Approx 296 Kms)

          Route 1 is often chosen by private vehicles as the stretch from Masinagudi to Ooty involves 36 hairpin bends and is precariously steep. It requires extreme caution and good manoeuvring skills and driving sense to tread on this stretch. Newbies should definitely avoid this route and take the second one. Vehicles fully loaded too find it difficult to climb the steep. So even if you are skilled but you vehicle is fully packed, take route 2.
          Route 2 is less steep and is easily motorable. It also take you through the Tamil Nadu version of the Bandipur  forest (Mudumalai Forest). So your chances of encountering wild animals are more. Also, mudumalai elephant camp is on this route too.

           Both the route however, goes through Bandipur Forest, where elephants, bison, deer etc.. are common sight. We took a break in Mysore and headed to the Ooty next day. It took 4 hours for a relaxed drive from Mysore to Ooty via route 1.

Hotels en route Ooty:
             Gundlupet is the last best place after (Mysore) to have food. After Gundlupet, there is no good hotel till you reach Ooty. So better feed your appetite as well as your vehicle before crossing Gundlupet. I didn't notice any major petrol bunks after Gundlupet.

At the Bandipur Forest Highway:

             The road at Bandipur was "Ok" with few potholes. But it was too narrow for two vehicles to pass through, so watch out for local Jeeps that would set you off road.

On the Masinagudi hairpin bend stretch..

Accommodation at Ooty
          A wide range of accommodation is available in Ooty that suits anyone/any budget. People often choose hotels/resorts in Connoor rather than Ooty as it's less crowded. Be sure to book in advance, since Ooty being a major tourist attraction, popular resorts/hotels are usually booked out. We chose The Highland Hotel, located on the Ooty-Doddabetta Highway. More about my reviews on this hotel can be viewed here (look for review with title "Money will spent"). I'd love to visit this hotel once again.

The Hotel:

Tourist Places in and around Ooty and Connoor
      There are lots and lots of tourist places to see around Ooty and Connoor. It's best to list all the places that you'd like to visit before you start your travel in order to make the most out of your trip. Popular tourist destinations in Ooty are

1. Botanical Garden
2. The Ooty Lake
3. Doddabetta Peak
4. Rose Garden
5. Avalanche
6. Dolphin's Nose (Near connoor)
7. Sims Park (Connoor)
8. Toy Train

Attractions in Ooty:

Doddabetta Peak:
       This one was very close to our hotel. The road to the peak was in a very bad state. Full of potholes. Any hatchback/low slung vehicle would ram the ground very often. To add to the worries, there is no ample parking space atop the peak. You'd have to wait for someone else to park. This could go even worse in weekends/peak seasons. You gotta trek a bit from the parking lot to reach the peak. The path is brimmed with local vendors selling eatables/sweaters/mufflers/caps etc..

View of the valley from the peak:

Rose Garden:
           This will do just to the name. Nothing much, otherwise.

View of Ooty's landscape from the Rose Garden.

      Avalanche is a beautiful village located about 30 KMS from Ooty. The road en route to Avalanche is good and is very very scenic. This place is well know for the Avalanche lake and valley around. Tamil Nadu Forest department also conducts charted rides inside the forest. The route also has quite a few hairpin bends but not as tough as Masinagudi.

Avalanche lake and valley view:

Ooty to Connoor:
   Connoor is around 20 Kms from Ooty and take anywhere between 45 mins to 1 hour to reach. Dolphin's nose, lamb's rock and Sim's Park are major attractions here. 

Sims Park:
        Just a miniature version of the Botanical Garden in Ooty. It also has a man made mini lake inside the park with boating facilities. Good for kids, bird watchers and nature enthusiasts. 

Inside Sims Park

Dolphin's Nose:
    If you ever gotta experience the real feel of Ooty/Connoor and it's charm, you gotta visit Dolphin's Nose. It's not just the place but also the roads that lead to Dolphins nose that gives you an awesome experience. Winding roads, tea estates on either sides, mist - the reason you came to Ooty. The road is too narrow that only one vehicle can pass at a time. Exercise extreme caution on this road.

Video clip from the route.

Video clip at Dolphin's nose.

Ooty Lake
     This is one of the most famous tourists spots in Ooty. TTDC offers boat rides on different types of boats on this lake. This lake is well maintained by TTDC though the flow of tourists to this place is very high. This is one of the easily crowded tourist destination in Ooty. We couldn't go for a boat ride as it was raining heavily.

A tea shop on the Ooty - Kothagiri highway. 

            There are of course, many other tourist places in Ooty and Connoor, which we didn't make it due to lack of time. Overall, it was a fascinating experience. Looking forward to visit Ooty once again in winter, to capture its real flavour.

More interesting travelogues to come, Watch Out !!!

Ram Kishore K

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy Earth Day 2012!

 Happy Earth Day 2013 !

Video Courtesy

Do your bit to save the environment. Save Mother Earth !

Ram Kishore K

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Trip to Pudhucherry (Pondicherry) from Bangalore

     This is about a 2 days trip that me with my family made early Jan '13. We've been looking for a nice location for a 2 days trip. After much debate on choosing among Chikmagaluru, Coorg and Pudhucherry, zeroed in on Pudhucherry hoping that the weather would be pleasant in Jan, in the otherwise hot Union Territory. Pudhucherry is the new name for erstwhile Pondicherry.

  The shortest distance to Pondicherry from Bangalore is approximately 311 kms
  Bangalore --> Hosur --> Krishnagiri --> Thiruvannamalai --> Tindivanam--> Pudhucherry.

However, a lot of forums/discussion in the internet advised that the route from Krishnagiri to Tindivanam is really really bad and suggested this alternate route.

 Bangalore --Hosur --> Krishnagiri -->Vellore --> Tindivanam -->Puducherry  (Recommended)

   The total distance of this route comes around 366kms (google maps) which is longer that the previous route by 50 kms. But, trust me, you can reach Pudhucherry faster in this route and it's highly recommended for medium to low slung cars. We took this route.

     We started around 6 in the morning. Provided the time of the day, there was no worry about the maddening city traffic and we managed to reach Krishnagiri around 7:30 am. . You can take a break at any good restaurants before Krishnagiri like "Ghar Dhaba" or "Shree Krishna Inn". We continued towards Vellore and reached Vellore by 9 AM. Had our breakfast at Saravana Bhavan (I highly recommend this hotel for authentic Tamil Nadu style veg food). The road till Vellore is a smooth 6 lane national highway.

     You gotta pay more attention to stick to your route from Vellore as the road from Vellore till Tindivanam is just 2 lane (oncoming traffic) with lot of diversions.

Vellore -->Arni --> Gingee (outer) --> Tindivanam -->Pudhucherry

 The road till Gingee, though two lane was newly laid and was free from pot holes. However, the condition started to get worse after Gingee. The whole stretch from Gingee to Tindivanam is horrible. You could hardly see a stretch of good road. It took more that a hour to cover just 25 Kms. However, the route from Tindivanam to Pudhucherry is a 6 lane highway again. It was 2 PM when we checked-in at our hotel.

Somewhere between Gingee and Arni

Accomodation At Pudhucherry
     There are a lot of Home Stays, especially those in French Style in Pudhucherry. A few of them are along the beach road, overlooking the beach. They may be very hot during the day, but evenings are just great ! Generally the home stays on the French Quarter are preferred.

    After a short nap at the hotel, we headed towards the Beach (or Pondicherry Beach) in the evening. I couldn't believe Pudhucherry traffic is 10 folds Bangalore traffic. Looks like Two wheelers got the right of way there and they are literally everywhere. Only consolation is that all tourist places are pretty close to each other can be reached in minutes.

The beach was just awesome. The beach road was well maintained and is usually closed for public traffic between 6PM and 7 AM (or so). That makes it an awesome place to hangout at the evenings. This beach road is a must visit place in Pondicherry and houses most of the tourist attractions namely

  • French War Memorial
  • Gandhi Statue
  • The French Consulate
  • Old light house.

At the Pondicherry Beach

The War Memorial


You could just walk around the French quarter to explore places and feel the sense of Pondicherry. Other prominent attractions in the Frech quarter include Aurobindo Ashram and Vinayagar Temple.

In front of the Ashram

Shot at the entrance of Vinayagar Temple

At Stalls near the temple

Just another colonial street.

A home stay at Francois Martin Street.

There's also another beach named the Auro Beach, located at the outskirts of Pondicherry on the ECR road. This beach is quite isolated and lacks security or other basic amenities. I was advised by the hotel staff not to go to this beach in the dark as it might be infested with anti social elements.
               People come to this beach to swim and play as it is not possible in the main Pondicherry beach due to the concrete structures raised to prevent seepage. We too had a good time there.

That's me and my kiddo.

On our return, we followed the same route and also visited the "The Golden Temple" at Vellore on our way back. Wait for my next blog for my experience of "The Golden Temple".

            Though we missed quite a few attractions, we had a wonderful time at Pondicherry. I'd say three days are just enough to explore the whole of Pondicherry. It's really worth every penny, visiting this place.

More interesting travelogues to come.
Watch Out !!

Ram Kishore K

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- Ram Kishore K